Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tech-link-al Tidbit

Dear Dad:

I know you only got your Dad Scarf in March, and now it's totally summer where you are. So you're probably not using your scarf at the moment. But it just occurred to me that, reading my blog post about it, you might have wondered why the picture of it looks so nice and flat when (in all likelihood) by the time the present reached you in the mail all my careful blocking had been undone and it looked more like a tube.

A valid question.

So I thought I'd share a link that discusses just such an issue, in bountiful detail! TECHknitter's explanation is also a great example about why TECHknitting is one of my very favorite knitting blogs. So mathy!

Thought you'd enjoy.
-Your daughter

P.S. Dad -- if it's really unwearable, I can try to block it for you again. Let me know next winter ;)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

At Last My Love Has Come Along


Here's a finished project that I've finally gotten photos for. (Thank you, Jay! You're hired!)

Please excuse the flood of photos. I'm just pleased as punch to have had a real, live photographer to help me out!


The pattern is Ubernatural by Stephanie Japel. Word of warning: this pattern has errors in it, and I wouldn't recommend it for a knitter who isn't confident adjusting the "recipe." Notes below.

The yarn is the green merino I salvaged some time ago. Although the yarn itself is two strands of worsted-weight held together, as the pattern recommends, it wasn't quite "bulky" enough to get gauge.

Still: this is a very wearable little sweater when I want some warmth in the cool Colorado evenings! Here, I was dressed up for the premier of Sex, God, Rock 'n Roll, Boulder's very first nationally-broadcast cable TV show!


So, the notes. Two things seem off. The first is that the raglan increases, as written, won't work. If you purled one of the YO's, maybe, but it doesn't give you the nice paired-increases in the picture. I'd replace them with the instructions "yo pm yo" in row 2 with the instructions "yo pm k1 yo", and thereafter on RS rows "knit to marker, yo, pass marker, k1, yo". The effect is to add a stitch between increases. This is necessary. This also requires shuffling some stitches around. See below.

The second is a little less straightforward. The instructions for the small size say "CO 40", and row 2 sets up the distribution of stitches: "Make buttonhole, knit 7 [for right front panel] yo pm k1 yo [for raglan increase], k4 [for right shoulder], [raglan increase], k18 [for back panel], [raglan increase], k4 [for left shoulder], [raglan increase], k7 [for left front panel]." Sounds OK. But here's the problem:

The button bands are knitted with the rest of the garment, with the first and last three stitches of each row done in garter. That means that the front is effectively only 11 stitches in width, compared with the back's 18. Uh oh!

There are two ways to fix this problem. The first is to size-up and cast on extra (that's four extra for corrected raglan increases and about six extra for the button bands) and work as follows: "Work 3 in garter stitch (making buttonhole), k7, increase, k4, increase, k18, increase, k4, increase, k7, work 3 in garter stitch."

The second fix would be to pull the extra increase stitches from the back panel, knitting row two as follows: "Work 3 in garter stitch (making buttonhole), knit 4, increase, k4, increase, k12, increase, k4, increase, k4, work 3 in garter stitch." I believe this is what Ms. Japel intended. Choose your fix depending on your gauge: the first will have 82 stitches at the bust, the latter 72. I chose the former, and mine was still pretty darn tight. But pretty!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Dad's Man Scarf

Men are hard to knit for. No matter what I do, the yarns, colors, and patterns I tend to like turn out girly. No good for men. So my poor father has been waiting for years on a knitted gift. Socks have languished in the forgotten WIPs bag; hats have failed before they were begun. But here, at last, is a project I was happy to gift to my beloved Dad.


This is Jenna Jenks' Braidy Scarf done in Tahki (that's TAAAAAAH-ki, apparently) Sedona, a beautiful worsted wool-silk blend tweed. The pattern, though shamelessly lifted from The Gap, is a real pleasure to knit: minimal, easy, and completely stylish. Dad, I hope you actually get some use out of it!

Tahki Sedona is also a real pleasure to work with. The colors are reserved and gorgeous, and the wool in the silk gives it that little hint of crinkle that I love. I chose it initially because it was the only tweed yarn that didn't look like it came from a candy store, and I ended up entirely pleased by this choice.

For anyone who happens to want to knit but thinks they don't have the skills to make something beautiful, I recommend you try this pattern! It looks beautiful in chunky yarns, too, so it takes only a minimal yarn investment (the pattern calls for Lyon brand Wool-Ease Chunky, about $3 a ball) The two braided cables provide the only moments of breath-holding, and with a little faith and courage I'm certain that anyone can get past them. Believe me, the gratification is worth it!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Jaywalker Socks

Finally, a new post.

A classic pattern, done in Oasis Yarn Aussi Sock, my Jaywalkers have been a lot of places. An attractive, simple pattern makes for a great traveling project!


I began these on a trip to Steamboat Springs with some friends, finished the first one on the plane to the southernmost tip of Argentina, and finished the second aboard the Lindblad Explorer in Antarctica. I believe there were four women on the ship who were knitting socks! Go figure.


This yarn is definitely not my favorite. The colors are really nice, and the dying creates beautiful stripes. But as you can see from the picture, it has problems with pilling. The picture was taken after one or two wears, and they look very worn. Still pretty, though.

For all that this is a simple pattern, knitting these was not entirely easy. The first time around I found (as many people have) that the sock was impossibly tight; to get it to fit over my heel, I had to rip it out and knit a larger size. I also had.. must confess... gauge issues, ugh! The second was much looser. To get them to look the same, I knitted the second in a smaller size. And thought I don't think it is very noticeable, I'm not going to post pictures of them both! Illusion of perfection preserved!